Eau Claire (WQOW)- The need for food is great, which is why it's good to hear about a new effort to help area families. Since 2008, Feed My People has tripled the amount of food it's distributed to food pantries.
There is a new statewide association that should help programs connect with each other and better serve hungry families.
"I think we can learn from each other," says Lisa Pease, who runs the Cornell Food Pantry.
On Tuesday, a new association was announced that should open up the lines of communication between food banks across the state.
"There are six Feeding America Food Banks that serve every county in Wisconsin and we've come together to form the Wisconsin Association of Feeding America Food Banks," points out Feed My People Food Bank's Executive Director Emily Moore.
Feed My People will represent western Wisconsin. The partnership will allow programs to bounce ideas off of each other; like what's the best way to get volunteers? Or if one food bank has an excess of meat, how can that get to a program in need?
"Somebody is doing something different than we are, I'd like to know about it," Pease says. "Maybe we can implement it. If somebody over here needs something and we have it in excess, maybe we could give it to them. We order every week from Feed My People. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have meat to give to people."
She currently serves about 40 hungry families each week, but says the need continues to grow.
"We have an increase in families about every week; one or two new families," explains Pease. "It's people who are actually hungry. They need to get through a week or two until they get a paycheck, until the bill gets paid."
Pease says Tuesday's news is encouraging because it means that food banks won't work on their own anymore, but together.
One of the challenges the new association will be facing is to raise enough money so these programs can smoothly operate together. To help that effort, United Healthcare plans to donate $100,000 to get things started. A good chunk of that money will be used to pay for administration to oversee the effort. Another challenge food shelves are facing is finding volunteers. If you would like to help out, contact your local food bank.
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